Understanding Habit Change

Reprogramming your mind and body

You are already hard at work creating better sleep, thinking and breathing habits and you are likely realizing just how difficult reprogramming your mind and body can be. Yep, change is hard, so we are calling on two successful habit-changing experts to give us some tools for success.In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear defines an atomic habit as a regular practice that is small and easy to do but is also a source of incredible power; a component of the system of compound growth. He encourages readers to create small, health-supporting changes that will compound over time and practice to create life-changing results.

In other words, play the long game. Clear believes we repeat bad habits because we use a flawed system when trying to incite change. Rather than focusing on what we want to achieve, Clear suggests we focus on who we wish to become in achieving our goal. His system teaches readers to weave healthy habits into the fabric of our identity using the The Four Laws of Behavior in the following table:


The Four Laws of BehaviorHow to Create a Good HabitHow to Break a Bad Habit
The 1st Law – CUEMake it obvious.Make it invisible.
The 2nd Law – CRAVINGMake it attractive.Make it unattractive.
The 3rd Law – RESPONSEMake it easy.Make it difficult.
The 4th Law – REWARDMake it satisfying.Make it unsatisfying.

James Clear states that every habit starts with a CUE, — most commonly time and location. That cue triggers the craving for whatever the outcome of the habit is. He notes that humans naturally gravitate towards the easiest path, so law three encourages readers to make desirable habits easy to complete and undesirable habits more difficult (i.e., freezing your credit card in a block of ice to combat online spending –or– leaving the sugar-containing food on the shelf at the store).
Finally, a small reward will reinforce our action and encourage us to repeat it in the future. You will have a chance to apply this method in the worksheet below.


  1. Name your WISH in 4-12 words: I want create the practice of counting my blessings before falling asleep each night.
  2. Name you best OUTCOME in 4-12 words: I’ll sleep more peacefully, wake feeling optimistic and appreciate my life now. I’ll have better relationships.
  3. Name your OBSTACLE: “I don’t complete the exercise because I fall asleep or can’t get into a place of gratitude due to a bad mood.
  4. Now, the if/then PLAN: IF “I fall asleep or can’t overcome a bad mood,” THEN I will “remind myself that this a temporary setback, and I’ll redouble my efforts after bedtime tonight. If I am in a bad mood, I will practice measured breathing to release the stress of negativity and make room for my positive thoughts to flow.

These summaries are simply introducing the main ideas of these two well-researched and scientifically supported books. We encourage you to read them entirely for a deepened understanding of their methods. Here is a link to WOOP Templates and Fridge-Ready Habit Change. Print them out and place them on your fridge as a reminder. Print more WOOP forms out and fill them in for anything in your life.

WOOP really works.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” — Gandhi

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” — Gandhi


The WOOP method of habit change will work in any domain in our life.
It will work to master the Four Pillars and most any other behavior we wish to change.


Today’s #1 Task

Print out the WOOP form, and fill it out with the Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan. Go forward knowing you have a solution when the inevitable Obstacle arises.

Today’s #2 Task

Print out the Habit Change form + the WOOP form and place them on your fridge in plain sight to remind yourself there are solutions to most anything IF we use the right approach.

Share with Your Community

Do you have any takeaways from today’s lessons? Share them with the MyRelaxer Community.

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